Get ready. This is a monster post. Our family trip to VA (my homeland) last December was a huge undertaking and I admit I was very scared that we weren’t going to make it there and back with everything and everyone intact. This would be the first time my kiddos had flown on a plane. It would be the first time I’d ever flown with a 1-year-old. Turns out, this trip would have a lot of firsts. Note: These are snaps. No real editing in the pics. I have a bazillion pics from the trip. I wish I had taken more.
We intentionally landed in Baltimore so we could take the kids to see the harbor. We were SO excited to be there and so excited to feel the cold. We were hearing rumors that it might snow. I can tell you that we weren’t quite prepared for how cold it actually was…Texas has turned me into a wimp. We had lunch at Miss Shirley’s – highly recommend…perfect warming comfort food after a long plane ride and a chilly walk. Then we hopped in our cars and headed to D.C. The above images were snapped inside of our ultra-hip rooms at The Hotel Helix. Okay, I’ll admit it…it may have been a little too funky, but the kids sure loved it (especially the boys’ loft/bunk with their own TV), and the staff couldn’t have been more helpful and kind to our rambunctious bunch.
I couldn’t sleep that night…I was so excited to get to take the kids around D.C. the next day and show them all the places I loved as a little girl. Unfortunately, I got a glimpse of the weather report just before I went to sleep and it didn’t look good. Basically, the biggest snowstorm in 20 years was headed right to us and scheduled to hit the next day. (Little did we all know that would be the start of an epic snowfall in NoVa this season). In order to avoid being stuck in a hotel room with three antsy kids for Lord knows how long, we decided that morning to cut our trip short (so long fun-filled day in D.C. and so long to my Xpressions mini photo sessions I was supposed to do). My mom and sis started to make their way to Richmond and we stayed behind to take the kids to the Museum of Natural History (we had to do *something* D.C. in D.C.).
Dinos = a hit. The Washington Monument = not so much. The Nature’s Best Photography exhibit = amazing. But the coolest part of D.C.? The automated shopping cart escalator at Target. We could have played with that thing all day. Except we had to try to outrun a massive snowstorm. So, back in the car and off to Richmond:
Evidently, everyone else was trying to get out of D.C., too because traffic was INSANE. We really thought we were going to beat the storm. Much to our dismay, our 2.5 hour drive turned into a 6 hour drive in blinding snow with very tired and very hungry kiddos. It was very, very scary. I was never so happy to turn into my blessed Uncle Dave and Aunt Shirley’s drive…their Christmas lights all aglow and the house a safe, familiar beacon in the dark night.
Taking my children to Uncle Dave and Aunt Shirley’s house was simply magical. This place that I loved so much as a child. This place that embodies all things family, holiday, and Christmastime. I still tear up thinking about sitting together at the dinner table the next day, warm and safe, eating a hearty meal and watching the snow fall outside. Every morning the kiddos would come downstairs and sit on the bench in front of the fireplace, just as the generation before them once did. The kids made cookies in Aunt Shirley’s familiar kitchen, just like my sister and I did when we were little girls. And when the kids went to sleep, the adults laughed and talked and visited, just like I always wished I could do when I was a young girl.
And the SNOW! Oh, the SNOW! How lucky we were that it actually snowed like this (not really that common for this area to get this kind of snow so early)! We had been telling the kids they *might* see snow when we went to VA, and here it was…beautiful, perfect, white, and plenty. The boys had an absolute BLAST. Amry, however, decided that her jacket was too poofy and she didn’t like hat having hair.
Even Twink (who magically joined us in VA) sneaked out to play in the white stuff, himself.
I wish we could have stayed longer to play in Williamsburg, but it was so danged cold. And all my boys really wanted to do was go play in the snow some more:
All-in-all, it was an incredibly successful trip. All I really wanted was for my children to experience new places and to create wonderful memories. I believe we did just that.